Filed Under: Food Scares Seafood

Report: Mercury-Fish Hype Put Poor Children At Risk

According to a new survey, nearly half of women are in the dark about what they should and shouldn’t do during pregnancy. And of all the areas of confusion – from hair dye to airplanes – diet was ranked at the top of the list. It’s no wonder. Even the healthiest foods, like fish, have received the skull-and-crossbones treatment in recent years. Sadly, the Americans most harmed by this bad advice are also the most vulnerable. As the Center for Consumer Freedom has shown in a new report now available at, the victims of the mercury-in-fish hype are our poorest children.
According to consumer data from AC Nielsen, nearly 4.4 million U.S. households that earn less than $30,000 per year completely eliminated their purchases of canned tuna between 2000 and 2006 largely because of overblown mercury fears. As the report, “Tuna Meltdown,” shows, more than a quarter-million children were born into these households.
Those 256,670 children were denied the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids because their mothers completely stopped buying canned tuna during their pregnancies. Canned tuna is the only consistently affordable source of omega-3 fatty acids for Americans in this income bracket. Their children are victims of public-health malpractice by green groups and the federal government, which have been issuing dire but exaggerated warnings about harmless levels of mercury that have always been present in ocean fish.

Studies show that children of women who consume the most omega-3-rich fish while pregnant—specifically canned tuna—score the highest on intelligence and motor-skills tests. And children whose mothers eat no fish during pregnancy (getting no omega-3s in their diet) are 29 percent more likely to have abnormally low IQs.

The federal government and numerous environmental advocacy groups continue to put the health of countless children in low-income households at risk. It’s time to re-evaluate the evidence and change course.
Click here to download Tuna Meltdown: How Green Groups and the Federal Government Put America’s Poorest Children at Risk.

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